Cookie cart service, barn sweep and Zoom mediations

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of Carolyn Neugarten’s story about Ridgefield High School’s Class of 2022 internships. To take a look at part 1 click here and part 2 click here.

As internships draw to a close and Ridgefield High School seniors anticipate graduation, five more seniors have agreed to share their internship experience over the past month.

Kai Harris donated his internship time to care for neglected animals at Rising Starr Horse Rescue in Wilton CT, a non-profit organization that rescues horses from across the country and sends them to better homes. A horse named Caspar, Kai explains, “came from somewhere down south and is in terrible shape. He’s so skinny you can see all his bones. Taking care of these horses is not an easy task: sweeping the stable, cleaning the boxes and outdoor enclosures, filling the water cans and distributing the hay, preparing the horses’ breakfast and dinner, the dressing too are all tasks on the daily schedule. Seeing these animals mistreated and caring for them is exhausting work for anyone, and while Kai is admittedly “wiped out at the end of the day”, he modestly added that he was “glad to have helped , even for only a month”. This internship taught Kai about horses and their proper treatment, but he will also end his five-week journey with the benefit of having a significant impact on the lives of many horses.

Rachel RudnickiInternship’s easiest days are Fridays when she’s in charge of the cookie trolley – she and two other interns bake cookies to give to nurses and staff at Danbury Hospital, as well as new mums with their little babies (Rachel’s self-proclaimed favorite part!). All other days, however, require extreme attention and concentration as a hospital intern. Monday is transport day for Rachel, where she brings inpatients from their rooms to different testing areas (such as CT or X-ray areas) or from those areas to their rooms. Tuesdays are slightly different – she’s in the ASU (outpatient surgery unit) pre-op, helping prepare patients for surgeries, which includes being able to chat with all the patients. The next two days are the most interesting; in the operating room waiting area, where patients meet their team who will be with them in the operating room (which may include an anesthesiologist, surgeon and nurse), Rachel observes these meetings and may watch the proceedings unfold. The first procedure she underwent was “transesophageal echocardiography with cardioversion, where they look at a patient’s heart using a camera, or an endoscope, which is inserted down their throat.” The second procedure Rachel was able to observe was a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (laparoscopic chole), which involves removing the patient’s gallbladder, and the last was a colostomy revision. Witnessing these operations in real time was an “incredible experience” for Rachel.

Curran Garganigo drifted into the legal field for his senior internship and eventually landed at Winget, Spadafora & Schwartzberg, LLP, an insurance defense firm that represents defendants in insurance liability lawsuits. Curran visits their Stamford branch and starts his day by greeting and checking in with his colleagues, as well as helping with any immediate letters or emails that need to be sent. It has proven essential for the company in handling administrative tasks such as document scanning and organization. More impressively, he was able to attend several mediations and trials of several lawyers and watch the enthralling back-and-forths unfold over Zoom. “Learning and seeing firsthand what a lawyer is is great for getting to grips with the field,” says Curran, and it’s clear that WS&S has provided just that!

Evia Rodriguez lasted throughout his internship at Henny Penny Farm, a seemingly hugely impressive feat – the three Staples High School interns barely made it past the first thirty minutes, and one of them threw up. Otherwise, Henny Penny turned out to be a very exciting place to work; Evia starts the day feeding sheep, goats, ducks, pigs, rabbits, cats, chickens and even rams, and some days include egg collection. Other tasks range from caring for baby goats and herding sheep, to more laborious tasks like pulling fence posts out of the ground, to the most dreaded task of all – cleaning the duck house. Evia’s experience caring for animals was never dull and as a bonus she learned a lot about working on the farm.

Priya Natarajan, dressed in her bright blue scrubs (“THEY’RE LIKE PAJAMAS!”) and her green cap, preps the pre-op areas for patients due at Wilton Surgery Center each morning for her senior internship. “Wilton Surgery Center is an outpatient surgery center,” says Priya, where major procedures include eye and gastrointestinal operations; these include “cataracts, eye plastics, colonoscopies and endoscopies” (which Priya will hopefully be able to observe first-hand by the end of her internship). When she arrives, she heads to the PACU, or Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, and cleans all the stretchers to be brought back to pre-op to be reused for new patients. In addition, she prepares beds and gives food to patients, especially those who have undergone colonoscopy and have not eaten for a long time. On special occasions, Priya has had the opportunity to hook up patients to monitors, watch blood pressure, and even use a glucometer and observe cataract surgery. The most valuable experience, however, was talking to and learning from surgical technicians, nurses, nurse anesthetists or nurse anesthetists, patient care technicians and surgeons themselves – all she described as a “more hands-on medical experience”.